Welcome back, friends! When last we met, your Knicks were unceremoniously shuffling away from the scene of an anticlimacitc stale fart of a playoff series loss at the hands of Lance Stephenson and the Indiana Pacers while we yelled angrily from the terraces about JR Smith’s poor decision-making and Coach Mike Woodson’s abandonment of two-point-guard lineups. Which is to say, exactly the same things we’re doing now.
The Knicks take the court tonight for their preseason debut without their mercurial Sixth Man of the Year, suspended for using medicinal marijuana to regenerate tissue in his knee and setting a horrible example for America’s children or something. Similarly absent: any indication that tonight’s starting lineup (Raymond Felton, Pablo Prigioni, Andrea Bargnani, Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler) will survive the return of Iman Shumpert, the cubically-coiffed wing who will sit with a shoulder injury but is widely expected to unseat Prigioni as soon as he’s ready to go. For many, this confirms a fear that has persisted since erstwhile GM Glen Grunwald sent some draft picks with a side of Novak to Toronto for former top pick Bargnani — namely, that the Knicks’ disproportionate allocation of salary commitments (and arguably talent) in the frontcourt spells doom for the types of lineups that proved most successful in the team’s banner 2012-13 campaign. To this end, it would be great to see Felton and Prigs run roughshod around the new-look (read: pretty bad) Celtics this evening in the hopes that they might jog the memories of all concerned. Ultimately, however, the presence of both Bargs and Amare Stoudemire might make for a frontcourt rotation whose appearance of depth persuades Woodson to confine Smith and Shumpert to the 2 and Anthony to the 3. Empirical evidence suggests that this would be unfortunate. On the other hand, Bargnani was good when Chris Bosh was on his team so he’ll probably be good now since Chris Bosh is on the Knicks. Or something.
Anyway, these are concerns that I will have a whole season to worry about and you will have a whole season to tell me that I’m wrong about. Tonight is all fun and games and me being mad that Pierce and Garnett bailed on the Celtics as soon as we got good enough to beat the crap out of them in their twilight years. Que sera, will be.
Russell! Reed! Havlicek! DeBuscherre! Bird! Ewing! Gerald Wallace! Andrea Bargnani! Colton Iverson! Ike Diogu! You know, Basketball!